You may have read my previous blog regarding the Ideal Training & Recovery Model, if not you might want to as it will help you understand why this is important.

The Taper Model. Now you’ve done all your training and improved as much as you can, all is left is to ensure you get to your key event in peak physical fitness. There are many ways to do this and, like all training, it is highly individual.

For those who don’t know, a taper is a reduction in training volume and/or intensity that an athlete would do before an event to peak their physical fitness. Typically this is between 1-3 weeks however it can be longer or shorter and may also be influenced by how hard your training load has been prior to the taper.

The infographic above shows a few different tapers that allow your body time to fully recover and adapt from the stresses of training. The main goal here is to bring up fitness as much as possible, without going into reversibility. Easier said than done.

The starting point of this taper, day 0, is simply normal training load. As you can see from the graph, there are a number of methods you can employ to taper, as shown in the diagram.

The end point, or day before your key event, is far less than day 0, but, very rarely is that no training at all. Reducing duration and retaining intensity is almost always the best way to taper. This allows your body enough time to recover, refill glycogen stores and be at your best (technically better than best!) while ensuring that your body doesn’t find the intensity of your event a shock.

Which taper method will work for you? Unless you have previous data to look at, you might not know! How do you find out? Smaller events and testing can be used to do mini-“test tapers”. I recommend you time these with your easier weeks to ensure that you are still doing enough training to see adaptation.

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